Journal of Hygiene

Research Article

Naso-pharyngeal carriage of Haemophilus influenzae type B

D.C. Turka1*

a1 Department of Bacteriology, Medical School, King's College, Newcastle-ypon-Tyne

H.influenzae type b, the sero-type which causes meningitis, was isolated from 3 (2·4 %) of 127 naso-pharyngeal swabs from white non-Jamaican children resident in Jamaica, and from 14 (2·9 %) of 473 such swabs from a mixed group of Jamaican children. Much higher frequencies were found in households in which cases of haemophilus meningitis had recently occurred (41 %), in the nursery of an orphan home (up to 70%) and in a day-nursery. In the orphan home nursery the high frequency persisted over a number of months, but no case of meningitis or other relevant disease occurred. A high concentration of this organism is therefore compatible with normal health, and the significance of high concentrations in the homes of meningitis patients is not certain.

I am indebted to the Standing Advisory Committee for Medical Research in the British Caribbean for a grant towards the cost of materials; to a number of colleagues at the University College of the West Indies, notably Dr E. H. Back, Senior Lecturer in Paediatrics, and the staff of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine; to those in charge of the orphan home, the day-nursery, the play-school and the other institutions visited; to many cooperative parents and children and to my wife for help in the collection of specimens.

(Received February 09 1963)


* Formerly of the Department of Microbiology, University College of the West Indies, Jamaica.